There were 26 people in the circle on Wednesday morning as we began the fall learning circle of the 2015-2016 Social Ministry Year. 18 students, 2 chaplains, and a whopping 6 staff! (including David Lappano and Janet Ross – our new program staff members who will be officially starting in January but who are here for the learning circle to get their feet wet – and Gwen McAllister who is on contract with CCS this fall to help organize the learning circle and the student field placements).
Already students have begun wrestling with the big questions of justice and social change, exploring the tools of social analysis and struggling to understand the dynamics of marginalization, privilege, and power. They have dug into the Bible, looking at the story of Exodus and the role of the Prophets, and into the theology of liberation and justice. Gwen, Janet, and David, along with CCS’s Ann Naylor and Maylanne Maybee, have invited the students to form a learning community of respect and encouragement where they can challenge each other to become agents of change in their communities and churches.
The learning circle is being held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (about a block from the CCS offices at Wordsworth House) and continues until October 29th. Next week will include sessions on Empire and the theological concept of the Reign of God, as well as sessions planned and led by students themselves on Racism, Environmental Justice, Uprooted Peoples, Poverty, and Militarism/Terrorism/Peacemaking. In the final week of the learning circle students will be exploring Truth and Reconciliation.